Brief Outline – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is the sequel to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and the Prequel to The Hobbit: There and Back Again. Based on J.R.R Tolkien’s beloved masterpiece; The Hobbit. Peter Jackson Director of The Lord of The Rings trilogy introduces the 2nd film in the Hobbit trilogy and the 5th in the Middle Earth Saga.
Review – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug takes the audience to places that were not apparent in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Roughly the same length as the predecessor, The Desolation of Smaug is a very different film to An Unexpected Journey. An Unexpected Journey takes a while to get moving out of the Shire and does not feature as much climatic events as the Desolation of Smaug. The Desolation of Smaug does feature a lot of action sequences. I really enjoyed the movie but their were a few things that I was not too happy about. The Desolation of Smaug does not stay true to the book/source material at times, as we know due to Legolas and Tauriel being in the movie. The beginning of the movie is a fair amount different to the book. The film starts off with Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and Gandalf (Sir Ian Mckellen) in Bree. A location more familiar to those who have watched The Fellowship of the Ring. It explains Thorin’s origin’s in the quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain. I like this inclusion, even though it is not in the book. Though the best part of this particular scene for me was an unmissable Peter Jackson walking right in front of the camera in a cameo appearance. Following this scene, the film returns to the point where An Unexpected Journey had left off. But it starts differently to the book, because Azog the pale Orc and other orcs are featured in it. I was not too fussed about Legolas and Tauriel being included in the book. They are featured quiet differently to how I had imagined, which is something you may or may not think works as saying would be spoiling, so I shall not say. I personally imagined the woods of Mirkwood quiet differently when reading the book to how it was presented in the film. Again the film excludes parts of the book when in Mirkwood. I liked the first 1/5 of the film from Beorn to the Barrel sequence, but did not find it anything special. It wasn’t week, or boring, it just didn’t match my imagination when reading the book, as well as he inclusion of none book extras. However, I really enjoyed the rest of film. I think that Bard (Luke Evans) and Laketown was great. As well as the small but joyful appearance of Stephen Fry as the Master of the Laketown. The sequence involving Bilbo (Martin Freeman) and Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) was great. Smaug was absolutely terrific. You could tell from some of Smaug’s dialog that it was Benedict Cumberbatch if you were not previously aware. But for the majority, there is a lot of added effects that it just contributes to the films fun ride. Thorin as well was great. The book does not clearly show a cut-off where the 2nd film would end and the 3rd film would begin. But I believe the film ends at a good point. The gandalf sequences are elaborated on a lot in The Desolation of Smaug and are tie-ins to the Lord of the Rings trilogy more than contributors to the Hobbit trilogy. Smaug is incredible and he will be one of the, if not biggest talking point of the movie after watching it. A big inclusion in the Hobbit is Ed Sheeran’s ‘I See Fire’ although it in only heard when the credits start rolling. The lyrics wok very well with the movie (some of his dialog comes directly from Thorin Oakenshield) It is well worth staying while the credits role to hear his contribution to the Franchise. But overall it is a great Hobbit movie and a fine addition to the Middle Earth saga. (And keep your eye out for Peter Jackson in the very first scene)
Verdict – 8.4/10. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is a very fun movie to watch. The inclusion of none book material works for some viewers but not others. So it is a hit miss with the additional material. But everything that is solely based on the book is great and is really fun to watch. I think that The Desolation of Smaug is definitely a film for fans of the Hobbit over Lord of the Rings (even though they cross over as fans of both) The Desolation of Smaug is not comparable to An Unexpected Journey as it is a completely different ride. After viewing the Desolation of Smaug, I do not believe that anyone who who will have watched it will have liked 100% of the movie. Most will have enjoyed 95% + of the film but the non book material makes a massive difference on the movie and the fans opinions of the film. The Desolation of Smaug is easily a better film at the cinema given the choice whether to watch it now or wait for the DVD release.